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March 20, 2007

Forest City Ratner’s spending on lobbyists: large, but small—and with a big payoff

lobbyists.jpgAtlantic Yards Report has last season's stats for Forest City Ratner's lobbying efforts:

As announced yesterday in a state report, [Forest City Ratner] spent $2.1 million last year, ranking third in the state but far outpacing any other organization involved in real estate projects.
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The largest single lobbying contract, $656,520, went to law firm of Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson, representing Forest City Ratner.

Coming in second, with a $527,875 contract from Columbia University, was the law firm of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, which also represents Forest City, though not as a lobbyist. Columbia also has a dicey land use project involving eminent domain.

Also, Forest City Ratner ranked second, tied with the American Lawyer Media Company, behind Verizon in retaining the largest number of lobbyists: 8; up from 7 in 2005. And it’s worth mentioning that the amount of money spent on lobbyists for real estate and construction rose more than 48% over 2005.

That's a lot of dough, unless you consider how much Ratner stands to make:

On the other hand, $2.1 million isn‚t much. It represents barely .05% for a $4 billion project, though a significantly higher fraction of the money Forest City would put up itself. Then again, should the project work out as expected, $2 million should be easy to recoup it's revenue from the sale of two condos or perhaps ten of 172 arena suites in just one year.
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If the lobbyists actually persuaded the city to more than double its contribution from $100 million to $205 million—enough to cover the developer’s bid for the 8.5-acre Vanderbilt Yard, as Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn points out—well, they certainly earned their keep.

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Note: The image is our own flourish — Atlantic Yards Report blogger Norman Oder wouldn't stoop so low.

Posted by lumi at March 20, 2007 7:23 AM